Central hosts wrestling tournament today

November 30, 2012 

Central High will host the fourth annual Red Devil Duals wrestling tournament today at the Central Freshman Academy.

The tournament, which will begin at 9 a.m. and last until about 7 p.m., will have 12 teams from Georgia and Alabama participating.

From Georgia, Harris County, Northside, Brookstone, Columbus and Pacelli will attend. From Alabama will be Central, Russell County, Jeff Davis, Tallassee, Smiths Station, Opelika and Stanhope Elmore.

The top four teams in the tournament will be recognized.

Central coach Rob Morales said that Smiths Station will enter the tournament as a favorite.

"It is looking really strong," he said, "should be the team to beat."

Central itself is improving, but lost 12 of its 14 starters from a season ago.

"We're relying on a bunch of young kids," Morales said. "They're actually doing really well. Fortunately, a lot of people are looking past us, so hopefully we can sneak up on some people."

-- David Mitchell

NFL

Saints' Vilma, Smith attend former coordinator Williams' hearing

WASHINGTON -- Saints defensive end Will Smith says he's glad he got a chance to hear former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams testify at an appeals hearing in the bounties case.

Smith and New Orleans linebacker Jonathan Vilma attended Friday's session, where Williams was cross-examined by the players' lawyers for about four hours.

Smith described the hearing as "peaceful" and "not awkward."

Smith and Vilma -- along with two former Saints, free-agent defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove and Cleveland Browns linebacker Scott Fujita -- were suspended by the NFL for the Saints' cash-for-hits program that the league says Williams ran from 2009 to 2011.

Smith, suspended four games, and Vilma, suspended for the entire current season, have been playing while their appeals are pending. Fujita later had his suspension reduced to one game. Hargrove has not played in the NFL this season, but faces a two-game suspension if he signs with a team.

Smith and Vilma declined to discuss any details of Friday's hearing. Former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue has insisted on keeping the contents of the appeals process private. The hearings this week have been behind closed doors.

BASEBALL

AP source: Wright, Mets strike $138 million, 8-year deal

NEW YORK -- The face of the New York Mets plans to stick around for quite a while.

All-Star third baseman David Wright and the Mets agreed Friday to a $138 million, eight-year contract, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press.

The deal, the richest in franchise history, replaces Wright's $16 million salary for next season and includes $122 million in new money, the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the agreement was not yet final.

A homegrown fan favorite, Wright is the club's career leader in several major offensive categories including hits, RBIs, runs and walks.

Wright is to attend teammate Daniel Murphy's wedding in Jacksonville, Fla., this weekend, then travel to New York for a physical. The contract with the All-Star third baseman probably will be announced at next week's winter meetings in Nashville, Tenn., the person said.

Martin finalizes $17 million, 2-year deal with Pirates

PITTSBURGH -- Russell Martin is going from a franchise that has won a record 27 World Series titles to a franchise that has endured a record 20 consecutive losing seasons.

Yet Martin, a catcher, said Friday he is excited about joining the Pittsburgh Pirates after finalizing a $17 million, two-year contract as a free agent. Martin spent the last two seasons with the New York Yankees.

"It's going to be different," Martin said. "It's going to be a challenge, but I think the Pirates have a young and electric club. There is a lot of talent there and I don't think we're as far away as winning as maybe people outside baseball think we are."

The Pirates are hoping Martin can help get them at least over .500. Their string of losing seasons continued this year when they went from 16 games over .500 at 64-48 on Aug. 8 to a 79-83 finish by losing 35 of their last 50 games.

GOLF

McDowell opens up 3-shot lead at Sherwood

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- Graeme McDowell has done a lot right this year, except for win. He now has one last chance to fix that.

Back on the course that has provided two key moments in his career, McDowell opened with three straight birdies Friday and finished strong for a 6-under 66, giving him a three-shot lead going into the weekend at the World Challenge.

"A good day's work," said McDowell, whose day was not over until he was escorted away for a drug test.

-- From wire reports

Bo Van Pelt got up-and-down from the drop zone for bogey on the final hole that gave him a 68, leaving him tied for second with Keegan Bradley and Jim Furyk, who each had a 69. Tournament host and defending champion Tiger Woods was tied for the lead on the back nine until he stalled and settled for a 69. He was four shots behind.

This is the final destination of a whirlwind trip for McDowell, who spent two weeks in China, a short holiday in Dubai, a tournament in Australia, back to Dubai and then across eight time zones to California.

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